Counter Acts: Incomplete Histories 1984 – present

As the UK’s contemporary art scene gears up for the announcement of this year’s prestigious Turner Prize winner, University of the Arts London (UAL) has mounted a fascinating exhibition featuring the work of alumni, both teachers and students, who have either won or been nominated for the prize since its inception in 1984.

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Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – Kettle’s Yard

Fierce nationalism and inter-religious tension in South Asia have been a constant feature of the region’s modern history, a legacy of Partition in 1947 and the struggle for independence for Bangladesh in 1971. Millions of people were displaced and millions were killed either directly or through famine. The resultant instability of concepts like home and nationality is explored  by 11 acclaimed artists in a new and stimulating exhibition at Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard, curated by Dr Devika Singh, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.

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Esther Teichmann – On Sleeping and Drowning

Esther Teichmann’s world is a mystical one of caves, swamps and underground lakes that exist somewhere between the real and the imagined, between autobiography and fiction. They are fragments of memory informed by the landscape of the Rhine Valley and the valleys of the Black Forest where she grew up and reimagined as mysterious, womb-like spaces where women sometimes sleep and dream. 

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Bruce McLean – Five Decades of Sculpture, Part One 1967-1994

Sculptor, painter, ceramicist, performance artist, filmmaker, Bruce McLean’s career flits about in a variety of genres. He’s regarded as having led the development of British conceptual art in the 1960s. Not that he would necessarily have it that way. He regards himself solely as a sculptor. His work subtly and playfully makes fun of the pomposity and established forms of the art world.

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Sony World Photography Awards

The portrait above, haunting yet dignified, is of a farmer’s wife called Rasathi from Tamil Nadu, India’s southernmost state that is facing its worse drought in 140 years. It was taken by Italian photographer Federico Borella, winner of this year’s Photographer of the Year at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards and featured in this year’s exhibition at London’s Somerset House. The woman’s husband committed suicide by hanging himself in his own field.

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